India sub disaster yields 5 bodies, no chance of survivors

Suman Sharma shows a photograph of her son, Atul, as her daughter Rashmi looks on in Amritsar, India, on Aug. 16, 2013. Atul is one of 18 missing sailors presumed dead after a submarine exploded in a Mumbai dockyard days earlier.

The bodies of five sailors from an Indian Navy submarine that exploded and sank Wednesday were recovered Friday, leaving 13 sailors still missing and feared dead, local media reports said.

The incident involving the Russian-made diesel-electric submarine occurred shortly after midnight Wednesday at a naval dockyard in Mumbai, but diving teams were unable to reach the inner compartments of the vessel until Friday morning.

Kyodo News International reported three bodies were charred beyond recognition and have been sent to a nearby naval hospital for DNA identification.

According to local media reports, the Navy had recovered two more severely burned bodies from the vessel.

The Navy said its divers are still trying to locate bodies, but with almost no hope of finding any survivors.

"The damage within the submarine indicates that the feasibility of locating bodies of personnel inside it is very remote as the explosion and very high temperatures, which melted steel within, would have incinerated the bodies," it said.

"However, the navy will continue to search every inch of the submerged submarine till all bodies are either located or it can be stated with finality that no bodies remain to be found."

On Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India was "deeply pained" over the loss of the submarine and its "18 brave sailors," including three officers.

He said the accident is "all the more painful" because the navy had only recently achieved "two major successes," by unveiling its first indigenously built aircraft carrier and announcing that its first indigenously built nuclear submarine was ready for sea trials.

The navy is still investigating the cause of the accident.

The INS Sindhurakshak was purchased from the Soviet Union in the early 1980s and commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1997. It recently underwent an extensive upgrade in Russia at a cost of more than $80 million, according to the Press Trust of India.

It was one of 10 Russian-built diesel-electric, Kilo-class vessels the navy has in its 16-strong submarine fleet, which also includes four German-built diesel-electric submarines and one nuclear submarine leased to India by Russia last year.